COOLSCULPTING – Freeze My Fat Please!
COOLSCULPTING – Freeze My Fat Please!
Coolsculpting by ZELTIQ Aesthetics is a relatively new, non-surgical procedure that promises to rid us of our unwanted flab. The procedure is based on the idea that the cold can freeze fat cells underneath your skin. The frozen cells die and leave the body through its natural elimination process, leaving you slimmed and trimmed. The principle of this procedure relies on Cryolipolysis, a controlled ‘cooling’ to near 4° Celsius (approx. 39° Fahrenheit). The Coolsculpting applicator delivers controlled cooling to a chosen area where it freezes fat cells. Therefore, it allows you to focus on specific areas where you wish to eliminate any stubborn blubber.
After 9 months of walking around pregnant, I was desperate to get back into my size 26 skinny jeans. Even though I had only 6 kg to lose, I started my diet the second week after delivery. And two months later, in addition to regular weight training, I was running over three miles on the treadmill every day.
Of course, I was super excited when I heard about the “quick fix” that Coolsculpting offered. I scheduled a consultation straight-away with one of the Coolsculping pioneers in London. When I got to the clinic, the practitioner thoroughly examined my flab and took some ‘before’ pictures. After the examination, she refused to treat certain areas right away. Apparently, in order to qualify for the treatment, you must have enough pliable fat to effectively draw into the Coolsculpting applicator. However, I was happy to know that I could get rid of some fat off my stomach, waist, and thighs (inner and outer). We divided the treatments into two sessions. It normally takes approximately 1-2 hours to treat each area. You can treat a few areas at the same time as long as the practitioner has enough applicators and it is possible to apply them all at once.
At my first session, I had my inner and outer thighs treated. The practitioner applied cold gel pads, followed by the applicator on my inner thighs. The applicators hoovered my fat in and stuck firmly between my legs. It wasn’t the most pleasant sensation but it didn’t hurt at all. Soon I felt the cold coming through and my thighs went numb. Two hours later, the practitioner came back to take the applicators off. As she took them off, she started to massage my frozen blue thigh fat.
Now that was painful! On a scale from one to ten, it was nine. Bear in mind that I had just given birth and therefore had quite a high pain threshold.
Thankfully, the massage didn’t last more than a few minutes. She repeated the procedure on my outer thighs, which was less painful this time.
A few days later I went back for a second session, to have my stomach and waist frozen. This time I had all four applicators on me at the same time. At the end of the treatment, during the massage part, I was almost sick from the pain. The pain was 11 out of ten this time. The things we do in the name of beauty!
That day I returned home and went straight to bed. I was bruised and felt beaten-up. Shortly, I started to get a very unpleasant pins and needles feeling accompanied with itchiness around the treated areas. And every time, I attempted to itch, I got instantly struck by a charge of pain. I felt extremely uncomfortable and barely slept at night. This feeling lasted for about ten days.
Since your body gradually eliminates dead/frozen fat cells, the results normally become visible only three or four months post treatment.
Three months later, I came back to the clinic for my review. The practitioner examined me again and took the ‘after’ pictures. A few days later, I went back to compare the images. When I entered the room, the practitioner informed me that it was difficult to see the results of the Coolsculpting, as I had lost lots of weight in those three months through diet and exercise. Yet, when I looked at the images, I immediately saw the difference. One thing I noticed was that my waist looked more pronounced and the stubborn flab between my upper thighs became non-existent. My inner thigh area is the one place where I have always struggled to lose weight, even before pregnancy. So I was delighted to spot that difference.
However, soon after treatment I noticed that my stomach started to look slightly uneven. Thankfully, it didn’t look too bad, just a tiny bump in my lower stomach area. It looked almost like muscle tone, but it was clearly not a ‘six pack’ or a ‘one pack’ in my case, when I felt it. I raised this issue with the practitioner. And the clinic decided to offer me one more treatment on my stomach at a ‘discounted’ price. In desperation to even out my stomach, I agreed to the treatment. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt as much as the first time and I recovered much faster this time.
One year later without seeing any change, I decided to get a second opinion. I was told what I already suspected for a while. My stomach appeared that way due to loose skin resulting from pregnancy. I rushed and did the treatment too soon after giving birth without giving my skin a chance to regain its elasticity. And the only way to fix this bump now, is through skin tightening procedures.
1. Experienced Practitioner
Make sure you choose a well-known and experienced practitioner. A practitioner should examine you and decide whether he/she can perform the treatment. Basically, you should have enough fat to freeze. If you don’t have enough fat to perform the procedure, you may end up being “sculpted” unevenly. Please also keep in mind that going to a well-known clinic doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get an experienced practitioner.
2. Post Pregnancy
Don’t make the mistake I made. Wait at least a year after giving birth. If you breastfeed then wait even longer. Things tend to go back to where they were over time, as the relaxin hormone gradually leaves your body. Let your body’s collagen and elastin do their job first and tighten your skin for you. It is important after pregnancy to lose weight gradually regardless of how many kilos you need to loose. You have to give your skin time to recover and regain its elasticity. Lose it too fast and the skin doesn’t have time to react.
Don’t expect any dramatic results. Although Coolsculpting is often described as an alternative to liposuction, it doesn’t offer the same results. I suggest you lose as much weight as possible before the procedure. And then use the procedure to trim those stubborn areas.
Despite Coolsculpting being a non-surgical procedure, there is a definitely a downtime. The procedure itself can be quite painful and uncomfortable, particularly in the stomach/waist areas. After treatment you get bruises. The pins and needles feeling lasts for a while, making it impossible to relax especially at night. Some people even complain about having sharp stomach pains comparing them to being stabbed with a knife. I personally didn’t experience those. But, my Coolsculpting practitioner warned me about this potential side effect. If it does happen, make sure you let your practitioner know as he/she can prescribe you certain painkillers. So back to No.1 above; make sure you go to a reputable practitioner, who you can reach after your treatment at any time.
5. Weight Loss
The weight loss is not permanent. Don’t expect never to gain weight again on the treated areas, whilst stuffing yourself with chocolate and pizza. I think this goes without saying, you’ll gain the weight if you don’t maintain an ongoing healthy routine.
Despite my stomach looking unintentionally more ‘muscly’, I was pleased with the overall results. Coolsculpting definitely helped me eliminate some fat that I had difficulty tackling with exercise and nutrition alone. I would only recommend Coolsculping if you have already achieved your desired weight through diet and exercise and are looking to get rid of a few stubborn inches or you would like to get more muscle tone definition.